Hungary registers 7,269 daily COVID-19 cases, a new record

The Hungarian government Saturday reported a record number of 7,269 new COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour span, raising the national total to 459,816.

In the past 24 hours, 146 people have died from the disease, taking the toll to 15,765 in the country, while 333,045 have recovered. Currently, 7,243 patients are being treated in hospitals, including 751 — another sad record — on ventilators, according to figures from the government’s coronavirus information website.

As of Saturday, 949,497 people had received at least one shot of a vaccine, while 304,880 had two jabs, according to the website.

“The third wave of the coronavirus epidemic across Europe has proved stronger than before. Due to the drastically increasing number of patients, the government has decided to tighten the restrictions,” the website said.

The new restrictions announced Thursday include a general lockdown from March 8 to March 22, including the shutdown of kindergartens and primary schools, albeit nurseries will remain open.

Grocery and tobacco stores, pharmacies, drugstores and gas stations will be allowed to stay open for business, as well as units for private health care.

Gyms will also be closed for two weeks. Training and matches of certified athletes could only be organized behind closed gates.

“We must close now so that the country can reopen as soon as possible. That’s why we decided on a two-week tightening in the hopes of being able to restart life at Easter,” Prime Minister Viktor Orban told public radio MR1 Friday.

Hungary has access to vaccines from five producers — namely China’s Sinopharm, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Sputnik V. It started to administer the Sinopharm vaccine on Feb. 24.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in an increasing number of countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

Meanwhile, 261 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide — 79 of them in clinical trials — in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain, and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on March 5.